Meet the Babbers!

3 Sep 2019

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me…”

This is how the Babbers Show begins every Monday at 12pm on Ujima radio 98FM. The Babbers are a group of volunteers who produce and present their own show, representing the views of Bristol’s elders. Respect is an important part of the Babbers as they encourage listeners to rethink perceptions of ageing and aim to raise the profile of older people in the city.

The volunteers are all over fifty, but come from different backgrounds and have different level of experience when it comes to hosting a radio show.  

Bea discovered the Babbers through the Celebrating Age Festival and soon became a regular presenter. “It was a massive learning curve at first as I’d had no experience of broadcasting. However, with a well-seasoned buddy and supportive Babbers team I was soon presenting shows. I loved interviewing inspirational guests and was proud to be part of a team which provided informative and entertaining shows.”

Dave, a current Babbers Host heard about the show whilst volunteering at Buzz Lockleaze and although he knew plenty about running the desk (he runs his own recording studio), he hadn’t been involved in the hosting side of things before.  “Once you’ve done one show you realise it’s not as scary as you think. I get a real buzz from it.” Says Dave. “Every show has a different set of people – you think you know your city but then other people come along and you see it afresh.”

Bea had to retire from the Babbers Show earlier this year as she and her partner moved away from Bristol however, Bea still loves to listen to the show on its Listen Again/Mixcloud service.  

Getting hosts for the show has proved difficult in the past because it is a specific kind of volunteer role. Miranda Rae, Ujima Radio Broadcast Manager says, “What we’re looking for is a variety of older people who are willing to give the show a go and learn on the job, we’re not looking for industry professionals but for real voices from Bristol’s elders community.”

Ujima Radio has a history of promoting the voices of minority communities. The station is a non-profit social enterprise, which celebrates African and Caribbean cultures through music and informative talk. Miranda says, “For us, it’s really valuable to share the views and opinions of Bristol’s older people and to nurture an understanding between our listeners and our shows.”

Recently, Ujima Radio applied to Bristol Ageing Better’s ‘Age-friendly Challenge Fund’ with the aim of engaging more older people from the BAME communities in Bristol and providing them with the training and skills required to record their own stories.

A part of the funding will be dedicated to encouraging more older, BAME people to volunteer as a Babbers Host. The Babbers Show, with the support of Ujima, will be visiting a variety of older BAME groups across Bristol in the coming months to gather stories and experiences of people willing to share their life with listeners.

To find out more about being a guest on the show or becoming a Babbers Host ring 0117 928 1539 or email BAB@ageukbristol.org.uk


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